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Almost Fiction: Zelig meets Gump

By Sam Jones

Almost_Fiction

To cooperate with serious journalists, on my 127th birthday I acquiesced to their request for a question and answer session.

First question: Could you tell us about your daily regimen, what do you eat, how often do you sleep, some of the basics of how you have lived so long?

Answer: I eat everything and sleep when I get tired. Those are predictably mundane questions. I literally don’t have time to waste on the trite and the clichéd. Try and come up with something a little less conventional or I will exit this interview forthwith.

Q: OK. Will you tell us about some of your early occupations?

A: The first job I had was sweeping out a pool hall and emptying spittoons. My second was as a busboy and dishwasher. During high school I established a landscaping business in the summers and worked my way through college helping two men named Bill Harley and Walter Davidson design their first V-Twin motorcycle. After earning my PhD from Brown University, I retreated from academia for 10 years to work with my hands. That’s when I invented the electric automobile. The oil companies paid me a fortune to kill the idea. That money created my philanthropic foundations.

Q: We have heard of your distinctive religious notions.

A: As a child I was raised in a very religious Christian household. I was taught about Christ and, by the age of six, I had read the bible several times. Not comprehending that the New Testament was talking about someone else, I understood it as something written exclusively for me. I thought it was for me… personally; that everyone was preparing me to be Christ. Imagine the childish ego. Finding that I was not to be Christ, I refused to go back to Sunday school and to this day I will not enter a church for any reason.

Q: Will you tell us about World War I and the French issuing you the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honour and the English bestowing on you a knighthood?

A: I will not talk about the circumstances that led to these honors other than to say that, yes, I was a spy and I did know Mata Hari. It is well known that I rejected the knighthood on principle and the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honour were given to me posthumously.

Q: Is it true you warned President Hoover about the impending Stock Market Crash of 1929?

A: Yes! The man was a fool.

Q: Is it true that you warned Neville Chamberlain about playing poker with Hitler?

A: Yes! The man was a fool.

Q: During the Second World War your status was highly classified.

A: Because of my theoretical doctorate and my gift for mechanical tinkering I worked with Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago when we split the atom. It was done in a handball court under old Stagg Field and our only protection was a bunch of gymnastic mats piled up against a pommel horse. Later, at Los Alamos with the Manhattan Project, I helped Robert Oppenheimer and was the man that gave the nicknames to the two atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan. “Little Boy” was named for the son of a secretary I was dating at the base and “Fat Man” was named for General Leslie Groves, the rather rotund officious Army officer who ran the base. He didn’t like the nickname.

Q: After the War you worked at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the Atomic Energy Commission.

A: Yes, but they didn’t like my idea of a workweek.

Q: How so?

A: I don’t work Mondays. Tuesdays I come in at noon and leave at 3:30 after the coffee truck. Wednesday I come in bright and early at 8:00 a.m., take no coffee breaks or lunch and work late until I get bored. Thursdays, I come in at 9:00 a.m., take coffee breaks at 10:45, an hour for lunch, coffee break at 3:20 p.m., clean up at 4:30 and punch out at 5:00. Friday, I come in when I want and leave early. I don’t work the weekends.

Q: They didn’t like that schedule?

A: It was too radical. Government projects are rigid. Funny, using my schedule, I got more work done on my own and made more contributions than any three people that punched the military time clock.

Q: From there where did you go?

A: Harvard. I worked with Timothy Leary on the Harvard Psilocybin Project. We used lysergic acid diethylamide. Leary considered LSD a religious sacrament and thought he was Christ. He reminded me of me when I thought everyone was preparing me to be the Son of God. Talk about a man with a messianic complex.

Q: Would you like to comment on LSD or the 60’s?

A: I’ll tell you this: The boring society we inherited from the 50’s was stagnating, Big Brother was everywhere and we were in another stupid war. The hippies had it right, but they were naive. “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Free sex and getting loaded is fun but it is hardly a political agenda you can sell the silent majority of Middle America.

Q: Would you remark on politics?

A: It is not widely known that I was the man that introduced Marilyn Monroe to the Kennedys. It is widely known that I was “Deep Throat” and gave Watergate information to Woodward and Bernstein of the Washington Post. I am proud I helped to bring down Nixon, that psychotic bastard. Just thinking about those two events will tell you why I no longer vote.

Q: We don’t know anything about your family life.

A: I will not comment on the ladies I have known. I think it is ungentlemanly to discuss the ladies. In addition, I will not comment on my years as a male escort.

Q: Will you tell us about your parents?

A: That’s up to them. Mom… Dad… would you like to tell them about yourselves?

Answers from Mom and Dad: No, we think you’ve already said plenty, and anyway, it’s late and time for our nap.

The Q&A concluded, I helped my mother into the sidecar of my motorcycle and my father onto the passenger seat. I rode them to their house so they could take their daily nap and continued on to my lady friend’s home for a late afternoon birthday cocktail.

 

 

 

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